DOHA, January 2, 2017
Novak Djokovic is looking ahead to his 2017 season opener at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. The World No. 2 from Serbia will return to action after he had finished runner-up at the ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, losing to Andy Murray, who his the top seed of the ATP 250 event in the desert.
“First of all, Happy New Year to you and everybody here,” Djokovic started his first press conference on Sunday. “It’s not strange to start off the year, first day of the year, doing press or playing tennis, start off working in our beautiful office outdoors.
“It has been a great 2016 for me. First six months of the year results-wise were really good. The second six months were up and down and I was not meeting the standard of the results that I kind of set for myself in the last couple of years. I was aware of that, but, again, when I look back on the last six months of the year, I’m happy that I’ve been through that experience because it has definitely served as a great incentive for what’s coming up. It has allowed me to reflect on all the years that I’ve had previously. I was crowned of course with Roland Garros title that was so much anticipated and probably took a lot out of me emotionally as much as it gave me.”
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) 1. Januar 2017
However, Djokovic lost his No. 1 spot during the BNP Parisbas Masters in Paris last November after 122 consecutive weeks atop the ATP Rankings.
“Of course would like to congratulate Andy for reaching No. 1, crowning his season again, because he has played some tremendous tennis, especially in the last three, four months. He definitely deserves to be there. Then we had now five, six weeks of off-season. Not rest, because in the five, six weeks you have to put in the rest together with preparations. Ideally for the amount of time that we spend on the tour, I would personally like to have it a bit longer, an extended offseason,” Djokovic told and is looking forward to the start in Doha.
“I’ve just praised the tournament, so I don’t want to repeat my words. I just want to add that I’m very pleased to see that the attendance is growing every year. There are more people coming to watch the tennis. At the end of the day this tournament was organized for the first time in 1993, so it has already a long culture and tradition of tennis.
“Doha is a city, Qatar is a country that and has already nurtured the tennis, I would say, passion and understanding and love for this sport. And people that come to the stands, it’s very international crowd. They already know tennis. They’re knowledgeable about the sport. It’s definitely a lot of fun and a joy to perform in front of such crowd,” Djokovic said and added:
“The stadium is fantastic. The venue is great. As I said, many courts. We have even hospital facilities if they are needed as well that are some of the best sports medical facilities I’ve seen in my life. This country in general invests a lot in the sport. They see sport as one of the most important, greatest values in life, and that’s how they teach their children to grow up, which that’s great.”